A canine companion can be an excellent friend who brings you and your family joy. Having a dog is a huge responsibility, and it’s vital to give them your unconditional care and love. All pups need to move and staying active with them is a great way to strengthen your connection. Here’s how to use exercise to bond with your pet.
Why It’s Important to Bond With Your Pet
You want your dog to feel completely safe and comfortable in your presence. As their owner, you’re responsible for letting them know you love and will care for them. Bonding is a continual process that lasts their entire life.
Dogs with strong bonds to their owners listen better, are less likely to get phased if you accidentally bump them and will trust you more. When you have a strong bond, they’ll want to please you, making it easier to train them.
A strong bond also benefits you. Dogs are fantastic listeners and can often sense your emotions. Petting and cuddling them can lower your stress levels and boost your mood. When your pup feels bonded with you, they’re more likely to be open to your needs.
Benefits of Exercising
Both you and your dog can benefit from regular exercise. Dogs can store a lot of energy and need to release it healthily. Exercising can reduce behavioral challenges like digging, chewing or excessive licking. It can also tire them out, which results in a calmer dog. Regular activity can prevent them from targeting their energy on destructive tasks.
Obesity is one of dogs’ most common health problems and daily exercise can reduce your pup’s risk. Avoiding the condition can help prevent heart disease, endocrine disorders and joint problems. If you have an older dog, speak with your vet about exercises that cater to their well-being.
Activity doesn’t just benefit your pawed pal — it can help you as well. Humans live sedentary lifestyles more than ever. When you move, your body releases endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety. Exercise can also reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Getting active with your dog allows you to maintain your health.
Using Exercise to Bond with Your Pet
There are many ways you can exercise with your dog so you both enjoy it. While walking is a popular option, a short trip might not provide enough stimulation for your pup. A long walk or one with many things for your dog to stop, smell, or look at can nourish their mind and body.
Obstacle courses are another way to stay active with your pup. Running, jumping, and crawling with your dog can greatly improve your flexibility and challenge their mind. If you both enjoy it, consider entering an agility competition with other dogs and their pet parents.
If your dog enjoys being around other dogs, consider looking for dog parks or training classes where you both can engage with others. Swimming can be an excellent form of exercise for the right breed. See if any public pools allow pups to visit.
Fetch and other games are a simple way to have fun with your dog. Throwing frisbees and toys can also serve as a slightly more challenging catch for your pup.
Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise. Your dog needs daily stimulation, and new sights, smells and puzzles are excellent ways for them to exercise their brain. If you have to leave them at home for an extended time, consider hiding treats and kibble around the house for them to find. If you make your own, try providing a filled snack they can work on during the day.
If you’re a runner, consider bringing your pup along. Specially-made running tethers attach to your dog’s harness so you can keep your hands free throughout the run. Wearing compression clothing can help you increase blood flow throughout your body, thus helping your heart get more oxygen out to your muscles. Speak to your veterinarian about the appropriate distance your dog could go without harming their body.
Getting to Know Your Dog
Starting an exercise routine with your dog ensures you have dedicated one-on-one time with them. Getting to know your dog’s breed and personality is also vital.
Researching their breed or suspected breeds, and speaking to a vet can help you understand what may interest them most. Their size, age, and type can determine how much exercise they need to stay happy and healthy. For example, bulldogs, dachshunds and Great danes typically don’t need a lot of movement throughout the week. Terriers, greyhounds and German shepherds need much more.
A dog with less-intense exercise needs can be great for apartment living or owners with a busier schedule. Dogs with higher energy needs might be perfect for an active family or someone who likes to spend their free time moving.
Bonding with Your Dog Through Exercise
Dogs can make excellent companions if you give them the care and attention they need. Learning how to use exercise to bond with your pet can be a great way to connect with your pup to keep you both physically and mentally well.